hello, grad you could join outside this edition of "newsline." it's thursday, september 9th, 11:00 a.m. here in tokyo. first take a look at the latest in business news with ines matsuyama. >> thanks, catherine, hello. the u.s. economy is losing steam, according to the federal reserve. citing widespread signs of a slow-down. the central bank released its latest survey of business activity on wednesday. the so-called beige book says the overall economy grew at a modest pace.
but five out of the 12 federal reserve districts showed mixed conditions, or slowing. among them are new york on the east coast, chicago in the midwest, and atlanta in the south. it also said housing and commercial real estate markets were sluggish and manufacturing grew at a slower pace. the latest survey is a downgrade from the previous report in july. that report also said the pace of economic activity had slowed in some districts. barack obama has announced an additional $180 billion in economic stimulus measures, including massive tax breaks in corporate investment. the announcement comes ahead of u.s. congressional elections in november. >> the truth is, progress has been painfully slow. millions of americans remain unemployed. >> in a speech in ohio on wednesday, the u.s. president proposed a special one-time tax exemption for all new capital
investments until 2011. his economic measures also include tax credits for corporate research and development expenditures. in addition to $50 billion on infrastructure spending announced earlier, the stimulus package amounts to $180 billion. obama also proposed that tax breaks for middle income earners be made permanent. but observers doubt how quickly obama will be able to implement his package. the opposition republicans are demanding the extension of tax credits for the wealthy as a condition for accepting his proposals. japan will ease regulations in growth industries to help boost the economy. the move is part of extra stimulus measures. the government's new deregulation plan will target 100 areas, including environmental businesses, health care, and tourism. for example, they will allow companies to operate battery charging stations without regulatory clearance to promote electric vehicles. they're also reducing the number
of nurses required to run a home visit nursing care company to encourage new health care businesses. to push tourism, the state will relax rules on hotel accommodations and allow the use of traditional homes as inns. the government will provide the plan's details in the coming months and implement them later this year. european monetary authorities are defending the reliability of their stress tests on eu banks. it comes after a leading u.s. newspaper questioned their credibility. the stress tests are meant to gauge the health of european banks. they were introduced to restore confidence in the financial system after the greek credit crisis. but on tuesday the "wall street journal" published an article questioning the effectiveness of the tests. it said that some lenders' holders of potentially risky government debt had been understated. the article triggered yet another fall of the euro against the dollar and yen and a sell-off of bank shares.
on wednesday, the committee of european banking supervisors released a statement defending the tests. it said that the debt disclosures had greatly enhanced transparency. the eu authorities assessed the soundness of 91 financial institutions. in july they announced that most of them have no problem. tokyo stocks rebounded on thursday morning after overnight gains on wall street and european markets. the nikkei 225 ended the morning session up 0.8%, or 71 ticks, at 9,095. exporters led the advance as investors took their cue from a weaker yen. the dollar's rising slightly as investors sell the yen to lock in profits. 83.74-75 while the euro is at 106.56-61. sources say traders are looking out for possible intervention by japan's monetary authorities. but the dollar's rise has been
minimal. even president barack obama's new stimulus package wasn't enough to ease concerns over the u.s. economy and the greenback. here's a look at the latest long-term interest rates. this is a yield on the benchmark ten-year japanese government bond. in other asian marks, hang seng is up 0.4%. the shanghai key index for major blue chip is down .5%. the sse composite is up just a notch. now back to catherine. >> thanks very much, ines. a tokyo hospital where an outbreak of a deadly bacterium is believed to have killed nine patients has admitted that its crisis management was insufficient. the multi-drug resistant bacterium was detected in 53 patients at tokyo university hospital over the past year. the bacterium is said to have been responsible for the deaths of nine men and women, some of whom were being treated for leukemia. the hospital on wednesday
released a report by two independent experts who were asked to examine its handling of the outbreak. it says the bacterium was identified in a hospital lab in august last year, but the finding was not sent to the section that deals with infections until february this year. the bacterium was detected in 14 more patients between august and february, but doctors who saw the test results allegedly failed to report them. the hospital was slow to respond after confirming the presence of the bacterium. it finally decided to take action to control the outbreak in may. china has expressed support for the upcoming myanmar election amid mounting criticism from the west. the poll will be held in november, but it practically eliminates pro-democracy leader aung san suu kyi from running. chinese president hu jintao met with myanmar's military leader, general tan shwai, in beijing.
chi china's state-1 news agency reported his government backs myanmar's efforts to reconcile the nation through election. observers say the myanmar government will assert the legitimacy of the election and defy criticisms from the international community now that it has approval of china its, economic partner. china's vice premier lee ku chang says his consider will consider accepting advanced japanese technology to tackle pollution caused by rare earth metal production. lee made the remark in a meeting with visiting japanese business leaders in beijing on wednesday. the vice premier said that developed countries have strategies to capture markets using advanced technologies. he said that it will take time for his nation to learn those technologies. the japanese business allegation is visiting china to urge the country to review its decision to cut exports of the metals, which would affect high-tech
production by japanese firms. china accounts for more than 90% of the world's output. new zealand's government says repairing the damage from last saturday's earthquake could cost nearly $3 billion u.s. the quake hit christchurch in the suburbs last saturday. the government of new zealand says the reconstruction costs will likely double from the initial forecast as the number of damaged houses has reached nearly 100,000. prime minister john keys said on tuesday the government will financially support reconstruction. by wednesday, about 140 aftershocks had struck the area. municipal authorities have decided to extend the state of emergency for another week. energy giant bp has concluded that the catastrophic gulf oil spill was caused by a linked series of mechanical and human failures involving multiple companies.
its report has immediately been met by backlash. the investigation was conducted by a team of bp and outside experts and disclosed on wednesday. the report blames eight interlinked findings for the accident, including the poor quality of cement used to contain hydrocarbons at the sea bottom and the rig crew's delay in noticing irregularities. bp's outgoing chief executive tony hayward said a series of complex events led to the tragedy. he insisted that the swiss drilling company transocean and others are also responsible. transocean immediately issued a comment calling the report a self-serving attempt to conceal the real cause of the explosion that started the disaster. it said bp had made a series of cost-saving decisions that increased the risk of an accident. the accident in april in the gulf of mexico left 11 dead and started a huge oil spill that lasted over three months.
protests are spreading muslim nations due to a florida church's plan to burn copies of the koran, planned for saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the september 11th terrorist attacks on the u.s. the church argues the burning of the sacred book is a warning against muslims who brought about the terror attacks. in the of a fan capital of kabul, people rallied on monday calling for the u.s. government to prevent the burning. in indonesia, the biggest muslim population in the world, people raised banners in the capital of jakarta on wednesday calling to stop the planned burning. along with muslim nations and the u.s. government, now europe is joining the chorus of criticism. the eu foreign affairs chief catherine ashton said the european union respects all kinds of religious beliefs, and the florida church's plan is not the right thing to do. the florida church is determined to pursue the plan. protests are expected to become
more intense in countries worldwide. north korea is celebrating the 62nd anniversary of its founding on thursday. and it appears to be preparing for the succession of its leader, kim jong-il. military and korean workers puerto fishes met on wednesday in pyongyang. the prime minister stressed the significance of the party's first conference in 44 years, scheduled to open this month. kim was absent from the meeting. he was quoted as saying, the entire nation is taking part in efforts to hold the upcoming conference. a new lineup of top party officials is expected to be announced at the conference to facilitate the succession. kim's youngest son, kim john un, is seen as the most likely candidate to succeed his father.
attention is focused on whether he will be given a top executive post at the meeting. north korea's state-run media has reported that regional representatives are arriving in pyongyang to take part in the conference. they haven't reported the exact start date. the commander of the u.s. pacific fleet says he's wary of north korea's move toward the eventual transfer of power from leader kim jong-il to one of his sons. admirable patrick walsh told reporters in tokyo wednesday that the u.s. navy should expect instability with any sort of succession planned by the north. >> history has proven that in the case of dealing with succession in north korea, that it is an unstable period. we should be alert to that, and then we should have our forces ready for any sort of instance. >> he also suggested that the u.s. and south korean militaries will need to reschedule a joint anti-submarine drill in the yellow sea. the drill, which is scheduled to begin or was scheduled to begin on sunday, has been delayed due to an approaching tropical storm.
japan's leading airline nippon airways will launch a discount carrier. the decision comes as more local carriers offer routes flying into japan from the asia pacific region. japan airlines plans to introduce a similar carrier. ana plans to unveil the airline by fiscal 2011. it will use a streamlined fleet with very reduced services to offer discounts. the new airline will be partly financed by an investment fund and operate under a different name. the carrier will be initially based at kunsai international airport in western japan but it will aim to expand its business to narita airport near tokyo. ana will officially announce the new airline on thursday. japan's government is mulling new ways to promote
eco-friendly car sales. on wednesday the ministry said it ended subsidies for the environmental friendly cars. buyers could get as much as $3,000 from the government. it unveiled the subsidies last year to bolster an economy struggling with the global financial crisis since 2008. the program received 453,000 applications and led to a surge in new car sales. now the government's facing more pressure to prevent those sales from falling. it also has raised domestic market share for next-generation autos. authorities are now considering other plans like giving subsidies to companies building eco-friendly car plants. japan announced its second quarter gdp numbers last month, confirming that china surpassed the country as the second-biggest economy in the world after the united states.
but experts' reactions to this news are still mixed. here's how one specialist in hong kong on asian macro economic trends looks at this development. >> but what it does is it just strikes the -- to the heart of the matter, that here in asia the dynamics of economic growth are changing. >> kirby daley, senior strategist, says the impact is already visible. he points out that the recent data show china has become the biggest trading partner for many asian countries. >> it's very difficult for japan at this time, and the reason is japan's fiscal situation that the government has gotten itself into is really a mess. japan's economy, the domestic economy, is having a hard time getting going with domestic consumption and its dependence on exports to the west is something what it has no control over. it has no power over.
>> reporter: some say the change symbolizes not only china's rise but also a shift in the global economic and even political landscape. but daley is cautious, noting that japan's per capita gdp is still more than ten times china's, which is $3,600. he also says china faces other problems. >> the real problem there is sustainability. a lot of the exports from asian countries to china are reexported to the west. and the ability for the western countries to keep consuming and driving those exports is going to be limited in the coming years. if we have a complete drop-off in consumption from the west, which is possible if we enter into a double-dip recession type scenario. >> reporter: experts note it's difficult to say china has really outdistanced japan on the basis of data for just one quarter. though many admit that the turnabout is bound to happen this year.
and daley predicts china will keep its number two position in the world for years to come. >> at this point, it looks like china can maintain its position as number two from the standpoint that japan's outlook for growth is quite bleak. china's outlook for growth, even at a lower rate, is still quite strong. so i don't see it necessarily reversing back. china will likely remain number two until it overtakes the u.s. it's very hard to predict anything more beyond five years out. but at this point, the sustainability of china remaining at the number two largest economy in the world is well entrenched. next is a recap of the latest market figures.
drivers a breathalyzer test before they drive. but some companies aren't waiting for april. >> reporter: more companies require drivers check their alcohol level by taking a breathalyzer test before they drive. this telecommunications company has been using breath liesers for four years. before taking a car off the company premises, employees must blow into the office breathalyzer. the boss examines the results. if the alcohol level is above zero, the employee cannot drive. >> reporter: with momentum building, the government will enact a new law next april to
reduce impaired driving. the new law stipulates that taxi and delivery drivers must take a breathalyzer test. but there is a problem. last december, a truck driving on an expressway was involved in a head-on collision with a van. the truck driver had been drinking at the rest stop. and the next morning when he started driving again, he still had alcohol in his system. when drivers travel overnight, the company cannot prevent drunk driving. how can an employer check a driver's blood alcohol content from a distance? a shipping company in saga prefecture has the answer. when the company's drivers are on a trip, they must test themselves with this device before getting into the vehicle. first, they connect a special breath lies tore a cell phone.
then they film themselves taking the test. footage of the driver taking the test goes into the company's computer. the alcohol level also appears on the computer screen. if the alcohol levels are above the maximum limit, the breathalyzer sounds an alarm. >> translator: i feel like i'm always being watched. but it's better, because it makes me more cautious while i'm driving. >> translator: when we are nearby, of course we can monitor them. but when they're traveling, there are times when we can't get the information. this is helping to raise
consciousness about drunk driving, as well as avoiding all traffic accidents. it's definitely worthwhile. >> reporter: modern technology allows employers to test drivers, wherever they are, for alcohol levels. it also deters them from drinking and driving. making the nation's roads safer for everyone. hi there, welcome back to your world weather update. well, it's a much calmer day here in japan today. that tropical depression moving further and further away from the archipelago. it does mean with the high pressure system in control now, temperatures will be climbing back up. meanwhile, it does look like autumn is on the way for the korean peninsula and northeastern china, as this low
pressure system pulls in bringing rain, it will also be bringing much cooler air. of course it will be coming into japan as well by the weekend. tropical depression over the south china sea is getting ready to move into southeastern china. it is getting stronger and is expected to become a tropical storm by tonight. so along the coast here, expect winds to pick up as well as waves and also heavy rain is on the way for the next couple of days. and more drenching downpours to affect taiwan across the northern end of luzon of the philippines as well. do watch out for flooding and landslides here. temperature-wise, manila 34 with showers. also some showers for hong kong today. 32. while up in the north, much, much cooler for seoul, 22 degrees. and tokyo coming in at 30 for your daytime high. as for the americas, still seeing those drenching downpours down in the south due to remnants of hermine. it's still quite an energetic system and not to be taken lightly. it will continue to pound the
area with more heavy showers in the next couple of days. flooding has been a concern in parts of texas as well as down in mexico. and it looks like this widespread rain is going to continue as well. so do watch out for that, as well as isolated tornados as well. something else to watch out for. northeastern corridor dealing with much cooler weather here. also lots of heavy rain coming into eastern canada as well. the northern plains looking at severe weather conditions to move on through on your thursday. this storm system getting ready to become better organized, moving across the northern rockies just now, and creating very windy conditions and a lot cooler conditions as well across the west. 17 degrees in seattle today. 20 in winnipeg. toronto in the teens today, 19 degrees. new york and washington, d.c. in the mid 20s. much cooler here. as for europe, central portions dealing with lots of showers,
isolated heavy rain, and thunderstorms really affecting the alps and also the balkans as we head into your thursday. still looking quite windy across germany and poland as well. the british isles getting a bit of a break in the wet weather. as you can see, a new system is going to be pulling in from the atlantic. again, it will be drenching the area, bringing strong winds as well. 21 degrees in london today. sunny spells for you. 21 in paris. then looking at sunshine in stockholm. 16 degrees. and 16 in moscow as well with plenty of sunshine. that's what's going on just now. here is your extended forecast.
shrinking rapidly, possibly due to global warming. a professor and his colleagues at the national institute of polar research recently released the results of their year-round survey of the iconic mountain. the group found that a 300-meter strip of permafrost has been lost over the past ten years. the report says in 1998, frozen earth on the mountain's south slope extended down from the summit at 3,776 meters above sea level to an elevation of 3,300 meters. but this area is shrinking. that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. my colleague shery ahn will be